The Butch and the Beautiful (Queers of La Vista #2) by Kris Ripper
Cover Art by L.C. Chase
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kris Ripper here to share zir thoughts about writing and zir latest release, The Butch and the Beautiful. Welcome, Kris.
Five Bits About The Butch and the Beautiful
By Kris Ripper
1. Sobrantes, La Vista’s best coffee roaster.
I spent half my childhood in an East Bay town called El Sobrante. Years later I asked a friend what the English translation was for “el sobrante”, and she kind of laughed. “Oh, it’s like…the leftover one, the odds and ends.” An auspicious name for a town, clearly! As something of an homage to one of my hometowns, I thought I’d name my fictional local coffee shop chain Sobrantes.
2. Merin. All the Merin.
There’s a character in this book called Merin, one of Jaq’s students. And in my notes, my outlines, that character was just “messed up kid whom Jaq wants to help”. Then I started writing. And, uh, Merin wanted to be…more than that.
One of the great mysteries of creation is how ultimately all of this book came out of my head, and yet it totally surprised me. Merin’s story not only wove more fully through The Butch and the Beautiful, but continued in the rest of the books, adding more depth to this series, and an unexpected edge. Merin challenges the community and doesn’t particularly feel like part of it, which is a wildly important perspective to include.
Anyone who’s read Gays of Our Lives is familiar with Mildred. In The Butch and the Beautiful she’s Jaq’s ex, whose status as a parent makes Jaq a little uneasy. Dred was young when she and Jaq dated, and now that she’s all grown up with a baby of her own, Jaq’s forced to confront the idea that Dred’s somehow out-paced her at becoming an adult.
One of the most gratifying things about writing a series is following folks through each book. We only see Dred on the page once in TB&TB, when Jaq introduces her to Zane. (Oooh, shivers. *cough*)
Jaq’s dad is another character I thought would be merely a mention, who got all up inside my head and showed up not just later in TB&TB, but later in As La Vista Turns. I write a lot of, uh, less than totally reliable parent figures. But Jaq’s dad is a lot of fun. He pulls no punches, isn’t afraid to confront his kids (and de facto kids) with the truth, and he’s also good for a hug if you need one.
Interlocking the books in this series was a total pleasure, and one of the best parts was hinting at the characters who’d be telling their stories in following books. Ed shows up at knitting group, which he’s been talked into coming to by his friend Honey. He and Jaq share a sense of “And what do you call these things?” when it comes to knitting. It’s not until the next book, The Queer and the Restless that you really get inside Ed’s head.
Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.
But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.
Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.
About Kris Ripper
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Connect with Kris:
To celebrate the release of The Butch and the Beautiful, one lucky winner will receive their choice in ebook from Kris’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!